Smurfs, Virtual Watermelons and the Touch

The iTouch has reached out and grabbed my son.

We’ve been dealing with electronic mania for years now. It started with that first little Batman video game a friend picked up for him at the drug store a couple of years ago.

He then moved up a level when Dad got a Playstation. The DS came not long after.

I’ve been dealing with these little devices and watching how they captivate my child. Send him into trances, thumbs moving, eyes darting, ears – seeming to lose all sense of hearing.

I’ve regulated electronics to stay, mostly, at Jeb’s dad’s place. We don’t have a television so the Playstation could remain stationary. But technology keeps getting smaller and more portable. Last Christmas his dad got him an iTouch. And I’m a little touchy about the whole thing.

The apps started simply enough. A game like Tic Tac Toe, but they soon progressed to Temple Run and Angry Birds.

Currently, it’s all things Smurf.

courtesy of wikipedia

“Ahh! Šmoula!” the Bohemian says, as it seems the Smurfs have international reach.

I’m not sure how I feel about their legacy being multi-generational. Wasn’t there only one female in the whole clan? And who was Papa Smurf anyway?

All I know is that these present-day Smurfs like to garden and they’ve got Jeb meticulously tending virtual crops.

“Mom, I have to go on my iTouch or my watermelon crop is going to die!”

The Bohemian and I, we’re hip. We can look at each other, and then Jeb, and exclaim “OMG!”

Parenting experts may suggest I at least try to relate to Jeb’s passion for his Smurfy garden. Show some interest even if I’m completely disinterested (or maybe even morally opposed).

I do recall the day my dad brought home an Atari. We had Space Invaders and Breakout. My first foray into virtual tennis.

courtesy of Michael E. Gruen

I don’t remember Mom ever picking up a joystick.

I guess I’m just trying to reconcile our garden – the one that just revealed six real, live and green, baby tomatoes yesterday – with the pretend Smurfville harvest held in Jeb’s eight year old hand. I know what’s real, but does he?

Just when I’m ready to ban the touchy Touch from the house, Jeb runs downstairs to our garden beds without prompting.

“I’ll be back, I have to check the garden!”

Mmmm.

I can spy down below from our upstairs window, and sure enough, he’s giving the chard a watering. He stands there on the seam between ethereal and earthly.

Oh, Jeb. Please stay grounded here with us! Feel the real, cool water on your fingertips!

When he comes back inside he’s all smiles. “There are two flowers on the strawberry now!”

Ok, there’s one for Papa Smurf and all his manly followers. Keep the faith, Smurfette.

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